4 Years

As of today around 10:30AM, I will be the mother of a 4 year old.


This picture was taken when Aaron was 24 hours old.  Or as Jay had posted, “24 hours young.”  There are days I miss this time in his life, for many different reasons.  But more than anything, I cherish the memory.


In the last few weeks I have taken a few trips down memory lane.  Those who know me well, know this isn’t always a fun trip.  But as today is the birthday of this amazing gift  in my life, I have decided to take a happy trip and show you how much this boy has changed in the last 4 years.


This photo is from our first ever photo shoot.  Aaron was 1 1/2 months old.  He was not a baby for long.  Weighing 9 pounds 10 ounces at birth, he was in newborn size clothes for a day, that’s it.  I love this picture because it symbolizes a forever bond of which strengths was not truly realized by me until 6 months later.




This picture was from his 9 month photo shoot.  An emotional photo shoot, but I chose this photo because you can literally see through Aaron’s eyes.  The innocence you can see amazes me to this day. 


Having given you two black and white photos, it’s time to switch it up a bit.









Aaron’s first birthday…when I decided to challenge my dear friend with making a giraffe cake.  She did not disappoint.  So many from the party actually thought it was a stuffed animal.  In the years since I have made things a little easier for her.  And then Aaron’s 1 year photos.  If you look closely at this Iowa State football jersey you will see Paul Rhoads autograph.  He is the Iowa State football coach.  The man who was coach when Jay was watching what would be one of his last Iowa State football games upset Oklahoma State.  Jay would be excited for Aaron having an autographed jersey but also deep down be kind of jealous. 🙂

And although I could write about each of the follow pictures, I’ll let you just enjoy a timeline of Aaron pictures.




Dear Aaron,

The last 4 years have been the most amazing of my entire life.  They have allowed me to watch you grow into such an amazing little boy.

You bring such joy to my life and to everyone you meet.

You tell people you love them.  You blow kisses.  You smile even when it would be so easy not too.  You hug with all your might, to make sure the other person knows you care.

You give me hope for this world.  Never lose your love of life.  Never lose your love of people, no matter your differences.

You can and will do amazing things in your life, this I have no doubt.

As you turn 4 today, know your mommy loves you with her whole heart.  I will continue to work hard at becoming a person you can be proud of.  I will continue to do everything in my power to make this life, this journey of ours an amazing one.

Love…always and forever,

Mommy    xoxo

a year later

One year ago, a time when I was getting scared for the terrifying threes.  I had heard the terrible two phase was bad but the terrifying threes would test me in ways I never thought possible.  At first, as a widow, I thought people were joking.  Then while talking to a dear friend of mine, she said “Alyssa…it started the DAY my son turned 3…good luck!”  I was scared but I could do this.

So a week before Aaron turned 3, I found myself doing everything in my power and with all my strength, trying to get him to sit in his carseat in the my vehicle.  He fought me so hard.  Did he not understand this was for his safety?  Did he not see I was tired from work?

After getting him in the car, buckled in and turning my moms ears on trying not to hear his loud protest I thought to myself…”Of course you would take on the terrifying threes earlier than the rest.   You decided to make your appearance into this world a day before your scheduled c-section…of course…you are an early bird.”

One year ago, I had started talking to a man on one of the online dating websites.  He made me laugh in a way I hadn’t laughed in a VERY long time.  His hug would feel as if he was putting me together more each time.  A thought occurred to me…”This is too good to be true…he is going to see the terrifying threes and run.”  Spoiler Alert: He is still here…a year later.

One year ago, I felt the barrier around me start to crumble in a way I never thought it would.  I had worked so hard since May 9th, 2012 to build this barrier.  I would work through the grief and this barrier would serve as protection for whatever would come my way.  I would only let a select few see me cry.  I would present a strong woman to the world.  I would do this to honor Jay.  I would do this to protect myself.  I would do this to make Aaron proud of me.  I would show strength and not let people see me cry.  I would not let them see me crumble.

As more of this barrier crumbled, I started to feel things again.  I started to trust more.  Not just other people or life but more importantly I started to trust myself again.  I started to love again.  I really started to enjoy life again.

As I looked through the last year of pictures for Aaron, two things happened.  First, I smiled because I could see Aaron and my happiness leap from the pictures.  We have done a lot of living, laughing and loving in the last year.  It was nice to feel happy about this. Then, I am confronted with emotions and feelings I am all too familiar with.  The problem I have now is my barrier is pretty much gone.  I wasn’t sure what to do.  I hear my self saying “Our life is amazing.  We are blessed.”  And yet I sit here and tears fall from my eyes because I grieve what could have been.  And the even scarier part is people can see easier how it is affecting me.  I hear myself saying “They cannot see me cry.  They cannot see how this affects me.  I have to be strong.”

I find myself thankful to have made it through the “terrifying threes.”  I am even starting to enjoy the “fabulous fours” with a boy who I know understands more then I did at this age.  I have a man that survived the “terrifying threes” with me, has stood by me through the up and down emotions I carry and has made me believe in love again.

A year later, I find myself enjoying a blessed journey.  I celebrate a little boy turning FOUR years old.  I find myself with a different form of strength.  And as much as it frustrates me and hurts, I still grieve…a year later.

closed door


If something is not broken, do not try to fix it.

Some doors are meant to stay closed.

The first statement is one I learned after having Aaron.  The second statement is one I learned after Jay died.

The other night, my boyfriend and I went out to a comedy club.  Our babysitter had put Aaron to bed before we got home.  He was sleeping soundly and in his bed.  A parents dream.  There was nothing to fix, however I felt it necessary as his momma to open his door to check on him.  A simple action trying to open his door, except it was kind of stuck.  Trying to be ever so quiet not to wake Aaron I got that door open without waking him.  It wasn’t easy but I did it.  He was fine, of course I already knew this but I had my validation.

I had peaked through a closed door the day before and it did me no good.  It wasn’t a bedroom door like Aaron’s door.  No, this was a door to a part of my past.  I peaked in and my heart hurt.  Memories and feelings I had tucked away started to flood my mind.  Self doubt and fear, uncontrollable emotion took control.  Gritting my teeth and with all my strength I tried to close the door.  Using all my strength I needed these feelings to get tucked away where they once were.  Where they belonged.  Eventually I gained control.

With Aaron’s door I was able to get it open, see my beautiful baby sleeping and close the door without him making a peep.  I peaked inside the other closed door and although the result and effort to close it was different, it closed again.

Moral of the story.

When things are not broken, do not try to fix them.  And when they are broken, maybe they need to stay that way.

When a door is closed, look for the door that opened because the reality is the door that closed should probably remain just that…a closed door.

Windshield Chip

The other day I was driving home and all the sudden I heard a very loud noise.   It startled me.  I drove a little further only to figure out what I heard.  A rock had flown up and hit my windshield leaving a nice sized chip.  I was frustrated because this was the first chip I had happen with this vehicle.

I know who to call to get it fixed.  I know I need to do it soon as with cold weather, what is a easy fix now could turn into a whole new windshield if I am not careful.

As I looked at it the other day while driving, I laughed.  Why?  Because I can relate it to life on a different level.

Whether a relationship, health issue or even cleaning the house.  It is easy to fix a “chip” then replace a “whole windshield.”

We get so busy and distracted with life that we say “I’ll do it later”….”it isn’t bad, it can wait”…”I don’t have time to take care of it.”  Heard that before?  My hand is raised because I am guilty as charged.

This windshield chip needs to be taken care of soon, it isn’t bad now but it could get worse so I can’t push it off to “later”.  Although I don’t really have time in my day, I will need to make some time as taking care of the chip takes less time then replacing the whole windshield.

What I also found myself thinking about is all those things between Jay and I we said “we’ll talk about that later”, “It isn’t that bad, we can wait to address it” or (the one that hurts the most now) “we don’t have time now we can find time later.”

The reality is this, there were arguments that started as chips and became a windshield fix.    We waited to address a few things we didn’t see eye to eye on.  And ultimately, we ran out of time for those things we said we would talk about later.

Yep, all of this from one windshield chip.